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Insurers' revenue rises, number of policies falls

Hungarian insurance companies' number of policies fell in the first quarter of 2006, but their revenue from premiums increased as did their profits, according to the State Financial Supervisory Authority (PSzÁF)'s quarterly report on the sector.

The number of insurance policies fell 2.2 million to 11.8 million in the nine months to March 31. The drop was almost entirely in the non-life segment, with the biggest drops seen in accident and vehicle insurance policies, the PSzÁF said. The fall in the latter was partly the result of a move by many clients to insurance associations, which now account for 10% of all mandatory car insurance policies, as well as the usual start-of-the-year slump in vehicle sales.
Based on insurers' combined pre-tax profits of Ft 20 billion in Q1, the sector could close the year with pre-tax profits of Ft 70 billion-Ft 80 billion, well over last year's Ft 63 billion, the PSzÁF said.
Revenue from premiums rose 16% in the first quarter compared to the same period a year earlier. Revenue from premiums on life policies rose 34% and revenue from premiums on general policies was up 4.75%. The PSzÁF noted a 77% increase in revenue from premiums on unit-linked products was behind the rise. Capital invested in unit-linked policies increased Ft 44 billion to Ft 393 billion in January-March.